American Identity- Rip Van Winkle

American Identity- Rip Van Winkle

The American Identity

Rip Van Winkle, by Washington Irving, is symbolic of the European sentiment towards the new society in America and establishes an identity before and after the American Revolution. Rip Van Winkles character depicts the society of America as seen by England, whereas the England portrayed by his wife, Dame Van Winkle. The townspeople represent American society at large and how it changed with the realization of becoming an independent country.

Rip Van Winkle was a “a kind neighbor, and an obedient hen-pecked husband”. All the good wives of the village liked him because he was willing help at any time. “In a word Rip was ready to attend to anybodys business but his own; but as to doing family duty, and keeping his farm in order, he found it impossible.” Seeing that Rip Van Winkles family was deteriorating while the people of the town were profiting from his rebellion against the authority and possible needs of his family shows that the Crown was losing respect while America was gaining the loyalty of its own people. Rips idleness could be perceived as the British perception that America was unwilling to focus on their duties as servants of the Crown.

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